The SNP is a grass roots organisation. The basic building block of the party
is the Branch. Membership of the SNP is organised on a Branch basis and the party's democratic structure is based on a series
of bodies composed mainly of delegates elected from these Branches. Thus, ordinary Branch members have the largest say in
determining the policy and direction of the party, as well as electing the leadership. Branches are responsible for campaigning
in their area and fighting local government elections.
Running a Branch successfully is a time and energy-consuming
business which requires a number of committed activists to make it work. Branches elect Office Bearers on an annual basis
to oversee the running of the Branch and to implement the agreed strategy. All Branches and sub-Branches are required to elect
a Convener, Secretary, Treasurer and Organiser and any other Office Bearers whom they deem necessary. These will be dictated
by the circumstances of the Branch but can include a Vice Convener, Membership Secretary, Social Convener or Fundraiser, Press
Officer and Political Education Officer.
Where there are two or more Branches in a parliamentary constituency, they
are drawn together to form a Constituency Association (CA). Where there is only one Branch it is called a Constituency Branch.
The Constituency Association (or Branch) selects candidates to fight parliamentary elections and co-ordinates the party's
campaigns at local level. Constituency Associations (or Branches) also elect Office Bearers, in the same way a Branch does,
to oversee the running of these organisations and to implement the agreed strategy.
Branches and CAs also send delegates
to the various national bodies which help determine the policy and direction of the party - National Assembly, National Council
and Annual Conference. Annual Conference is the supreme ruling body of the party and, as well as making policy, elects the
party leadership. National Council is the ruling body of the party between Conferences and, in addition to hearing reports
from National Office Bearers, has the power to make policy. National Assembly is the forum for the development of policy within
the party at which policy is debated and discussed, before being presented to the party at National Council or Annual Conference
for endorsement (or otherwise).
Any member of the party can attend these national meetings, though only delegates
can speak or vote.
The National Executive Committee
The National Executive Committee (NEC)
is the body which is collectively responsible for the interpretation of policy between meetings of National Conference and
National Council and is charged with devising the SNP's national political strategy, as well as overseeing the organisation
and administration of the party.
The National Executive Committee comprises
· President, three Vice-Presidents
(these positions are largely honorary)
· National Convener (the Leader)
· Senior Vice Convener (Deputy Leader)
Vice Conveners for:
· Local Government
· National Secretary
· National Treasurer
As well as these National Office Bearers the party also
votes for ten Elected Members. In addition, the SNP Groups in the Scottish, Westminster and European Parliaments are also
represented, along with delegates from Affiliated Organisations.
The party's National Office Bearers report to National
Council and Annual Conference and are open to question by delegates. The NEC itself meets once a month and is chaired by the
Affiliated Organisations and Special Groups
There are various affiliated
organisations within the SNP:
· Young Scots for Independence (YSI), the official youth wing of the Scottish National
Party. The YSI has representation on all major party bodies, which enables it to play a constructive role in the formulation
of SNP policy. Youth members have a tradition of strong campaigning on issues such as poverty and national youth issues and
play an important role in winning young voters for the SNP.
· Federation of Student Nationalists - SNP Students, the student
wing of the SNP, which is active in most colleges and universities throughout Scotland. The FSN has become a major political
force in Scotland's further and higher education institutions, at the forefront of resistance to attacks on Scottish education
from successive British governments.
· Association of Nationalist Councillors (ANC) is a national body comprising
all SNP councillors which acts as a forum for SNP councillors to share ideas and strategies and co-ordinate the work of SNP
councillors at national level.
· SNP Trade Union Group - has a dual role, to promote the role of trade unions within
the SNP and to promote the aims and objectives of the SNP within the wider trade union movement.
Other groups include:
· Asian Scots for Independence, promoting independence and reinforcing the strong links between the SNP and the Scottish
· New Scots for Independence, for SNP members and supporters born furth of Scotland playing their
part in building Scotland's independent future.
· SNP Women's Forum, promoting the active participation of women at
all levels of the party.
· Business for Scotland, providing a forum to engage the business community in debating and
developing forward-looking policies in an era of constitutional change.
· SNP-CND, at the forefront of the campaign
to rid Scotland of nuclear weapons.
The SNP in local government
The SNP has over 200 councillors,
representing almost 30% of the national vote, controls two council administrations (Angus and Clackmannan), forms the major
opposition group on many others and is ahead of all the other parties in local council by-elections, since May 1999. SNP councillors
are in daily contact with individual voters, community groups and local organisations and are the party's front line troops
in their communities.
The SNP in Parliament
The SNP has representation now in three different
parliaments - Holyrood, Westminster and Europe. Each of these Parliaments has responsibility for, and control over, different
aspects of Scottish life, although there are areas which overlap. The objective of all SNP parliamentarians however is exactly
the same - to work together to deliver the best deal for the Scottish people and move Scotland towards Independence. The SNP
parliamentary operation is spearheaded by our Shadow Cabinet Team, taking in members from all three Parliaments.
SNP HQ is located in Edinburgh and provides support and information to party members, elected
representatives, local organisation and members of the public, covering a range of services including Organisation, Administration,
Fundraising and a Press Office.
Contact details for NEC members, parliamentarians and party spokespeople are available
via SNP HQ.